The story is fairly simple and straight forward as you take on the role an Iga ninja working for Rikimaru. You’ll start off choosing a gender and a set of clothes, and then you’ll choose your partner (who will always be the opposite gender of you). After the brief tutorial that follows up the character creation, you’ll be thrown into the Ninja Village. This is where you choose to either purchase tools, clothes, and abilities, or just talk to Rikimaru to start a mission. Your first mission will actually be a plot line mission, afterwards other missions are like side quests, and you won’t come across another actual plot mission unless you complete or skip the side ones. Your goal in the game is to solve a simple drug conspiracy, which eventually evolves into something more. Missions will have you going from assassinations to hostage rescue, or just completely eradicating enemy forces; with a total of 50 missions to go through, you’ll experience many types of stealth based ninja missions.
The game controls are great, very responsive and simple. Some of the abilities might tangle your fingers up, but the initial set up is fine. Choosing your ninja tools requires a punch to either left or right on the D-pad, you can hold the right bumper to sneak around, and pressing X at the right time will grant you a fancy stealth kill. The game can be fast or slow paced depending on your personal style of play. Although, I recommend taking your time to avoid detection. At the end of each mission you’ll be ranked on your performance, which depends on your stealth kills, normal kills, if you were detected or not (why I recommenced you take your time), and if you killed any innocents or not. Ninja 5 is the best rank you can get, and it really isn’t too difficult to achieve it. However, some missions may get on your nerves if you are trying to get Ninja 5. There’s lots to unlock such as tools, abilities, and clothes, most of which you will unlock while just playing through the plot missions, But for those who enjoy collecting, you’ll have to dive in to the side missions to get the rest.
As I stated, the game came out very early in the 360’s lifecycle, as such the visuals in the game are not exactly the best. At most the game looks more like a Xbox title rather than a 360 title, which is very evident when you get character close ups. When characters do talk in the game there is no mouth movement at all, and models don’t look that great either. Aside from that, the scenery is pretty good, and you do get a feeling of Feudal Japan as you jump from rooftop to rooftop. The sound in the game is a different story, especially the conversations. The game is fully voice acted in Japanese with subtitles, which was a great idea to keep the game true to Japan. Other sounds such as stealth killing an enemy and listening to the fountain of blood spray are also enjoyable to the ears, and give you a sense of being a very bad ass ninja. The music, although very befitting of Japan, can get pretty dull as there isn’t much variation, you’ll hear the same 2 or 3 melodies for the entire game. Few exceptions are boss fights or when you’ve been detected which isn’t often. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself providing your own playlist for the game.
Now for you achievement hunters out there, this game should be an easy 1000 for you. Every achievement in this game with the exception of about 2 or 3 can be obtained in one play through of the game. You’re pretty much killing your way towards each achievement, and the only ones that might take some time are the Ninja 5 ones. You will have to Ninja 5 every mission on all three difficulties, but the real problem is that these don’t stack up. Yes you’ll have to Ninja 5 all 50 missions on each difficulty individually, which makes it a total of 150 missions to go through. It will take time and patience, but if you’re an achievement hunter then you’ve got both, so have at it.
My personal opinion, this game is worth it, Also it’s not expensive nowadays, ranging from $10-$25 bucks online. Again if you’re trying to boost up your gamer score, this game is an easy 1000. It can get pretty repetitive and dull at times, but I find myself enjoying it every time. It is a stealth game, and I usually don’t play those types of games. For those of you who know me, I like to go in guns blazing, so you know this says something about this game if I’m able to do it. Definitely a game to check out, at least give it a rent and see for yourselves that this isn’t a game you should miss out on.
That’s all for now, and remember Play til’ you DRUL.